Roach vs. Atlas: Saturday’s Fight Viewed through the Prism of their Famous Mentors

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By BERNARD FERNANDEZ

It’s reasonable to presume that no one paid for tickets to see the New York Yankees in the 1920s so that they could watch future Hall of Famer Miller Huggins manage from the dugout. The big crowds came to see Babe Ruth swing for the fences. Sixty years later, no one paid for tickets to watch Phil Jackson, who would go on to coach his teams to a record 11 NBA championships, strategize on the sideline for the Chicago Bulls. Fans packed arenas to see gravity-defying Michael Jordan make magic on the court in much the same manner that the Bambino once did in the batter’s box.

All of which makes Saturday night’s third meeting of welterweights Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) and Timothy Bradley Jr. (33-1-1, 13 KOs) something of an anomaly. Oh, sure, there is some standard intrigue to the HBO Pay Per View clash at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand in that the fighters have split their two previous bouts, making this a “rubber match,” which always hints at some sense of competitive closure. But there is a widespread belief that Pacquiao deserved to get the nod in his first fight with Bradley, who came away with a hotly disputed split-decision victory, before Pacquiao bounced back to clearly win the rematch on points.

Check out The Boxing Channel video “Teddy Atlas Elaborates On His Relation With Timothy Bradley”.

Nor have Pacquiao and Bradley, polite and restrained by nature, gone into the gutter to conduct an inflammatory war of words, although Pacquiao did create a bit of a stir with his politically incorrect comments on same-sex marriage, which he has since said were taken out of context. Even Pacquiao’s pronouncement that he would definitely retire after this bout has become less of a story line as the 37-year-old Filipino superstar, the only man ever to win world titles in eight weight classes, now is dropping hints that he might decide to fight on.

It has been left to the respective trainers, Freddie Roach for Pacquiao and Teddy Atlas for Bradley, to rev up the hype machine by going public with a personal feud that seems genuine and, to some extent, has matched or even superseded public interest in the fighters they represent. To some degree, Pacquiao-Bradley III will serve as a referendum as to which of the two celebrity cornermen is the better now and, just maybe, for posterity.

“I know Teddy personally. I’ve had a couple of altercations with him,” said Roach, 56, winner of a record seven Eddie Futch Trainer of the Year Awards from the Boxing Writers Association of America. “I don’t like him, and he doesn’t like me. That’s just how it is.

“It’s the first time we’re facing each other, so it’s a little competitive. But that’s not why I want Manny to win the fight. It has nothing to do with Teddy Atlas, and I really don’t care what Teddy does. So, who is he? An announcer? I won’t give him credit until (Bradley) beats a legit fighter. Let’s face it, you look at the guy (Bradley) beat (Brandon Rios, in his first bout with Atlas) was fat and out of shape. He looked like he wanted to retire even before the fight.”

For his part, Atlas, 59, is just as dismissive of Roach, whose reputation, he said, is inflated by Pacquiao’s success, which Atlas believes could have been achieved with any number of equally qualified trainers.

“I don’t care what (Roach) thinks,” Atlas said on a video posted by HBO. “I’ve been in this business 40 years, longer than him. I’m more than a passenger (with Bradley), more than a guy going along with something that I shouldn’t go along with.”

For all their obvious differences – the unfailingly courteous Roach has been with Pacquiao for 15 years, the excitable, take-no-crap Atlas with Bradley for only the past six months or so – it is their similarities that make the friction between them such a jumble of contradictions. Each is regarded as a brilliant constructor of fight plans, capable of extracting maximum productivity, both physically and emotionally, from their charges. Each is brutally honest, sometimes to their detriment. And, make no mistake, each has a sufficiently large ego that does not allow for the merest possibility that someone else could be more knowledgeable about the intricacies of boxing.

Lastly, and perhaps more important, each is considered the most accomplished pupil of legendary mentors, both of whom have taken their earthly 10-count and are enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Roach – who also has been inducted into the IBHOF, in 2012 — learned his craft from the venerable Eddie Futch, who help mold the careers of 22 world champions, including Joe Frazier, Alexis Arguello, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Marlon Starling and Riddick Bowe. For Atlas, that guiding hand was provided by Cus D’Amato, who helped take Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres to world titles, and undertook the process that led to Mike Tyson joining that list.

It might even be inferred that it is the ghosts of those two larger-than-life figures – Futch, who was 90 when he died on Oct. 10, 2001, and D’Amato, who was 77 when he passed away on Nov. 4, 1985 — that are competing for an added layer to their legacies as are Pacquiao and Bradley, or Roach and Atlas. Whoever wins Saturday night not only gives a measure of credence to the elevation of Roach over Atlas, or vice versa, but, in a residual manner, to any lingering vestiges of the Futch-vs.-Cus argument.

There are those who consider Futch, a onetime stablemate of Joe Louis, as the greatest of all trainers, on a pedestal above even those upon which the revered likes of Ray Arcel, Whitey Bimstein, Jack Blackburn, Angelo Dundee, Emanuel Steward, George Benton and Gil Clancy reside. Quiet, polite and dignified, Futch always spoke concise English, never raised his voice and had a fondness for 19th-century British poets. His disinclination to call attention to himself might explain his slow rise up through the ranks, which obliged him to find employment as a hotel waiter, road laborer, welder, sheet metal worker in an aircraft plant and a distribution clerk in the Los Angeles Post Office in addition to his duties as a trainer.

Roach, who at various times has also worked the corner of such notable fighters as James Toney, Miguel Cotto, Wladimir Klitschko and Bernard Hopkins, is as meticulous in his handling of fighters as was Futch, who also trained Roach.

“He’s absolutely brilliant at breaking things down,” said one of Roach’s former fighters, Irish featherweight Bernard Dunne. “He’ll make time to help you understand, no matter who you are or what your ability. He treats us all the same, whether we’re novices or world champions. You just don’t see that in boxing.”

D’Amato’s approach was markedly different from Futch’s, as is Atlas’ to Roach’s. When Bobby Stewart, who “discovered” a then-12-year-old Tyson at the Tryon Residential Center for Boys and brought him to D’Amato’s training facility in Catskill, N.Y., for further refinement, Cus made him the personal project of Atlas, whom D’Amato referred to as the “young master.”

Although Atlas also had been a troubled youth who came to regard D’Amato as something of a second father, the two eventually disagreed on how to handle Tyson, for whom a separate, far more lenient code of personal conduct was allowed by D’Amato. Atlas has said that the aging D’Amato, who saw Tyson as his last great hope for winning a world championship, made allowances for the teenage phenom’s insolent behavior that he would not have accepted from anyone else.

Flash point came when a 16-year-old Tyson “put his hands” on the 11-year-old niece of Atlas’ wife. A furious Atlas then confronted Tyson, putting a gun to his head and threatening to kill him if he ever again did such a thing. But instead of disciplining Tyson, D’Amato cut ties with Atlas, who had served as Tyson’s lead trainer for four years and was with D’Amato for seven.

“At that moment I hated Cus every bit as much as I hated Tyson,” Atlas said in his autobiography, Atlas. “I had trusted Cus. We were partners. I knew if I allowed this, the next time Tyson would take it further. He would rape her. Or someone else.”

All these years later, Atlas remains ambivalent about his relationship with D’Amato. But one thing has not changed; unlike Roach, the figurative iron fist in the velvet glove who followed Futch’s lead by getting his fighters to do as instructed with patience and reason, Atlas has held firm to a my-way-or-the-highway approach. He has walked away from lucrative training gigs with, among others, Donny Lalonde, Michael Moorer, Shannon Briggs and Alexander Povetkin because they resisted his dictums. While Atlas has retained a high profile in the sport through his 18 years as a color analyst for ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, for NBC for the last four Olympics and, most recently, for Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN, he has resisted any number of offers to train interested fighters – or at lead he did, until Bradley came calling.

“I spent several days thinking about it (accepting Bradley’s request for Atlas to train him),” Atlas said before their first fight together, the ninth-round stoppage of Brandon Rios last Nov. 7 in which Bradley either looked very sharp, Rios very dull, or perhaps some combination thereof. “I went back and forth, going over so many things. It wasn’t an easy decision. It would have been very easy to say no instead of yes. I was hesitant at first, but what I knew about the kid in terms of his character – not only in the ring, but in his personal life – was a factor.”

Trust in boxing, as in anything else, is or should be a two-way street. Pacquiao has been with Roach so long it almost seems as if they are joined at the hip. The relationship between Bradley and Atlas is still in its formative stages and, given Atlas’ history of walking away from fighters who come to chafe at his way of doing things, it is hardly certain that the current mutual lovefest will long endure. In any case, Roach believes that Bradley will lapse into the pre-Atlas version of himself once he finds himself in tough with Pacquaio.

“I don’t think there’s a new and improved Tim Bradley,” Roach said. “Fighters try to improve and change, but when they get hit, they revert to what they normally do best.”

What happens in the ring is always what it is. But figure on more time than usual focused between rounds on the instructions and exhortations given by the trainers to their fighters, more or less equal partners in a quest that will help to define the evolving status of all concerned, including those of a couple of dead men whose reverberations continue to be felt to this day.

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Check out The Boxing Channel video “Paulie Malignaggi Breaks Down Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley 3”.

 

 

Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-Kid Blast :

BTW, Your piece on Mills Lane was superb!!!!!!!!


-Kid Blast :

Atlas was a troubled youth and tough as nails, but he also had more options than most and his troubles were of his own doing.


-stormcentre :

Looks like PacRoach are already working on their latest *prefabricated SaltWaterJesus PacLossExcuse. Just incase and/or should it be required.
->http://www.spin.ph/boxing/manny-pacquiao/news/freddie-roach-dispels-allusion-manny-pacquiaos-feet-hurting-going-to-tim-bradley-fight Now, aside from the fact that bad/old *PacRoach habits (usually) never die . . . Please also note;

A) The article is from the Philippines. B) The website's name is, perhaps aptly titled as; "Spin". C) The articles complete absence/lack of interest in even remotely discussing - let alone genuinely pursuing - the possibility of substantiating Pac's latest PacLossInjuryExcuse; whether or not it be - yet another curious prefabricated and/or other claim - within that very long line of the same.


Storm. :) :) :)


-Kid Blast :

His feet is hot


-stormcentre :

Yep . . . . Despite the fact that one might ordinarily and reasonably come to the conclusion that . . .

"Since *SaltWaterJesus appears relatively accustomed to replacing the prescribed shoulder rehab therapy (associated with his MayPacLossExcuse) - with getting wet and/or swimming in the ocean; he must therefore be familiar with being wet."

The fact(iod) of the matter appears really to be that . . Regardless of this *reasonable consideration, it still appears that, all that nasty sweat (and PacQueen genetic releases?) running down the back of Pac's legs . . . has somehow given rise to - yet another - serious, spectacular, prefabricated, unsubstantiated, and hilarious PacLossExcuse injurious problem; and that's "before" the actual PacLossInjuryExcuse is even required. And this appears to apply, particularly well, within both the country where Pac's votes count the most, and also on the laughable and highly scrutinising "Spin" website. Spin, spin, PacRoach and preserve that PacPayday, won't you?

""Holy ProactiveRoachPacLossInjuryExcuse Batman !!!!! Yes, Robbin . . . it appears that it's about to NSACFraud happen again"".

Quick . . someone alert (all) the Queens, advise them to pay no attention, and look the other way; as the naughty PacTruth (and possibly PacQuestions) appear to live here. Finally . . . . Don't forget to also lock up your dogs folks. As Pac is not only on the loose and PEDs again - but he also appears to be well-hungry after several day's work of immodestly dropping all those wicked bare chested poses - replete with flexing muscles - for all those . . oh so urgently required . . and necessary photos. Love it !!!!!
Storm. :) :) :)


-Kid Blast :

What MANY observers may be missing is that the animosity started when the then- Roach- trained Peter Manfredo was fighting Joe Calzaghe in Cardiff in 2007 under Freddie ‘s tutelage but Freddie could not be at the fight because he was in Puerto Rico training trains Oscar de la Hoya for his mega fight against Floyd Mayweather—and for mega bucks. Thus Manfredo’s corner was left in charge of Peter’s father with whom the son had a complex relationship Atlas, the Announcer, was all over this saying how a trainer should never be missing in action and letting his fighter down like this. It was clear that Teddy had little respect for Roach at that point. And that’s when the real snakebite might have been put in the coffee. It was a case of Staten Island toughness vs. Dedham Projects (Boston) toughness.


-stormcentre :

I remember all that. I also remember the disgraceful way Oscar sacked Roach (after he lost to Floyd), and also how quickly Freddy dropped Peter to initially run with the big "O". That said, in my opinion, Roach was never going to help Manfredo beat Calzaghe; not in a million years. And that's not just because Roach is an overrated and/or average - but still, I guess, good - coach either. It's because Calzaghe knew how to box (properly and {almost} completely) and that would have been a problem for both Roach and also Peter, even if Peter did know only half of what Joe did.

Even if you discount the difference between what was preached, said, and done before/during the fight; just look at the (laughable) game-plan Roach devised for Pac against Floyd. Remember they (allegedly) had a plan "A", "B', and "C". Or so - all at the same time that (we now know that) PacRoach were sitting on that PacLossExcuse(NSACFraud)Injury - we were told. The reality of the matter was that . . . "I'veGotA"AB&C"plan2Beat&KOFloyd" had nothing; except for prefabricated excuses and/or undisclosed injuries. Or, if it was something, then I don't know why the combination of so many backup plans at PacRoach's disposal and also the (undisclosed) prior knowledge that Pac had an injection requiring injury, simply resulted in a game-plan that exhibited all the traction and hallmarks of a few grams of flour thrown up in the air during a gale force wind.

:) Anyway, look at what Joe did to Lacy. Faark man . . . Talk about a public, conclusive, and embarrassing hiding for the ages!!!! Such displays of utter dominance in the boxing ring like that are rare. Especially where they include - as was the case with Joe if you looked closely enough - the dominant fighter, at times, smiling, grinning, and just dancing around and doing exactly what he wants; as he slaps the supposed next generation Champion silly. It was a huge statement, that perhaps was only bettered by how conclusively Joe rolled through Kessler; to prove the doubters wrong again. However, even after the hiding Joe laid on him, Lacy (returned to the ring and) still managed to beat Manfredo unanimously. That happened around 2006, I think it was. So I offer all that up as consideration for anyone that thinks - and I don't say you yourself do - that Peter Manfredo would have fared any better against Calzaghe even if he did have "I'veGotA"AB&C"plan2Beat&KOFloyd" in his corner. OK . . . let's jump back to PacJuiceFraud and Floyd . . . . . I think anyone reliable that knows both this game and also the business must also know that there's a bit more to both Pac and Freddy than meets the eye. In fact, when you consider the widely accepted and na?ve perception(s) associated with Floyd and Pac - and I don't by any means say Mayweather is an innocent angel either - there are some striking similarities to Frazier and Ali.

Ali was always considered to be the nice and more acceptable guy. Whereas Frazier was cast as the villain. However . . . . In hindsight we all know that - despite how incredible and legendary both men's ring achievements were - Ali's treatment and unnecessarily spiteful and degrading disrespect of Frazier was (even if Joe had not loaned Ali money, lobbied to have his license reinstated, and facilitated a fight with him; to assist Ali through troubled times) way, way, out of line; and as such it easily constituted grounds for their publicly perceived roles to be reversed.

In some ways it's the same for Pac/Roach and Floyd. And this seems to be reasonably well established/proven by;


1) All the turned (look the other way) PacCheeks when the PacFacts present themselves.
2) And of course, it also appears relatively well substantiated by all the unanswered PacQuestions . . . that, if at all, are usually only addressed with either group think and/or misdirection.
3) And . . . it might just also be proven by;


A) Not only how/and why Hauser was employed to selectively write the "Can Boxing Trust USADA" as a means of preserving PacJuice's reputation.
B) But also by all the facts that naughty Hauser skipped right over (and also failed to answer after the fact); in order, or so it seems, to fulfill the real agenda of his "Can Boxing Trust HAUSER" piece . . Which surely was nothing more than the conniving and calculated combination of Hauser's;


- Questionable but timely utilization of all the jealously and hate that preexisted for Floyd both before and after Floyd easily beat Pac.
- Opportunistic knack for seizing the (May)PacLossExcuse moment that was - at that time - clearly, overflowing with broken hearted PacLossExcuseQueens, and therefore also perfectly primed with hundreds of unhappy little unscrutinizing souls . . . that had;


- Not only embarrassingly pushed conventional logic aside to loudly misplace their PacFaith; via laughable, episodic, and wildly uncontrolled bouts of group think and tribal behavior.
- But were also desperately looking for "any" . . .

And by ""any"" . . I don't "just" mean "any" PacLossExcuse at all - I also mean jumping at and/or manufacturing "any" PacLossExcuse at all in the unique style of . . ""Hey, we don't have to accept the PacLoss . . . we make our own reality around here . . . yep . . . to hell with the hard questions associated with the implausible PacLossExcuse we may collectively and naively clutch at - so long as we all band together and all reject the truth at the same time - so too, we can then also, all together, later pretend, misdirect, and gallop away from them hard questions too. . speshly after the PacLoss embarrassment finally subsides""

Available excuse to both clutch to for the PacLoss and also make them feel better.








Robbin; ""Well, there yawl all go . . . . that pretty much explains that then Batman"".
Batman; Yes, my tight pants wearing comrade . . . . basically it's a double dose of diabolical, dastardly, and disease-curing, deception . . unraveled for you. . . . for free . . . and right before your very eyes . . . . who would have ever thunk it would be the result of that seemingly useless and shite talking
Storm that - or so we were told - can't back nuffin he says up and was repetitively ganged up on all last year by numerous PacQueens!!!!
Robbin; ""Yep, that's for sure Amayyyzzzzzing Batman; you sure got me on that point, and down where it counts"". A bit naughty I know . . . But I still love it !!!!!
StormCentre :) :) :)
PS: OK . . . with all that said . . . Please, listen up . . . Calling all . . . . PacQueens, FloydHaters, PEDlovers, CrossDressers, trySexuals, CrystalMethTwinkers(UnoWhoUR), RoaringDonkeys, beastialityWorshippers, pups, ProvenNotChampions, Fictional&FanatsyFantasizers, KO-artists, DelusionalBlackMagixArtists, VoodooPractitioners, HairLoss(ByWayOfNevaSubstantiatedButStillMagicalPotion)Restorers, ThirtyFouzandXperMinuteBloodCirculationSubscribers, PacLoss(ByWayOfNonExistent122Clinches)ExcuseArtists, LostCityOfAtlantis(SecretHymen)Mermaids, MagicalCancerCurers, SubstantiationFleers, TruthFact&QuestionRejectors, GunRunners, Ace"O"SpadesGangstas, c'momSensibleFolks, genuine boxing lovers, those whom know ED music, and all the rest of the groovy cats that hang out here . . . . Even if you listen to no other electronic tunes that I post here all this year, do not miss this one . . . . . Fat psychedelic electro house - that has stood the test of time and also become many a studio engineer's favorite - right here !!!!!


-Radam G :

No doubt that the ghosts of the late great trainers will be up in da hizouse. And I'm getting a feeling that T-Brad is going to bounce up and down on that canvas and then out, i.e., similar to the late paradoxical Floyd Patterson. I'm certain that T-Brad has cranial nerve damage and a lot of arthritis up in all of his 14 facial bones and eight skull ones. Dude has been getting spaghetti in the legs almost everytime that he is even barely touch above the shoulders on that Cali Cranium Crusher. The Pac spies and the pugvine are buzzing with this info. Besides in three of T-Brad's last five scraps, he got cracked badly up in the cranium and did the spaghetti dance and/or went down or into the ropes. Holla!


-stormcentre :

Dat aint nested-celery sow B.V. If T-Brad - b4 he fytz PrefabPacLossExcuse - suk up big on dat magic cure-all diseases glacial mineral drink from da FakeNobelPrizeNominee-Cum-VeterinarianDokta dat U bean pushing wheel hard down sukaz nekz a feud weaks bak . . . . . .

Uno da one . . . Dat one wear no quPestions bout Qwedentchalz or nuffin whur eva wheely antsadd . . Member now? Da-1 revolving dat smokeScream "Wallach's Credentials Reek 4 Demselvez" Fred dat u bowf staged an awlso hocus-poke-ussed, up; in2 freakality.

Well, den, if dat appen . . An den T-Brad sux ard . . . "

An bye "ard" I mean wheel ard . . like, say, sum1 dat time 4got who izz lost on a farm wen imm awlso no imm ownly hav 5 mins left wiv roaringDonkey (2 make wood imprezzshion) in speshly made shed

" On all doze voodooMagic "blind-fate" mineralz . . . . Den . . .

Not cranial nerve damage. Not - 14 facial bones and eight skull ones - arf-right-US. Not sPaghetti-legs. Not da ghost of paradoxicalFloyd"P". Not Ahh-Fight-Us in da CaliCranuimCrusher. Not nuffin.

Nuffin stop imm (T-Brad) frum winnen. Cause dat magikal MLMmineralz stuff cure evee-ting any1 evea got b4 day even git it. Imm kure Canca too !!! It true. I no it trew as I erd it wight ear in dis 4room. Dat stuff heathen make u strong an DoubleWorldChampagne again. U jus need Phath. Butt den . . . mayB Pac no dat2 an imm jus lowd up moore (if dat poshiball) on doze eazzy target Philippines PEDS 2 compo-sate. Pac shoore like gettin Freedy 4 fytz in da Philippines. P'hapz da ftheame of diz T-Brad V PacLossExcuse fytz woodB betta crawled . . . "PEDs V MagicMineralz". :) :) :)


-Kid Blast :

Holy moley